In our Gospel reading today from Matthew 15, we see an amazing example of perseverance in prayer, and the unselfishness of a mother. A Canaanite woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This “disqualified” the woman and her daughter. But she persists in her request. Because of her faith, Jesus answers her prayer.
In the first reading from Numbers 13 and 14, the Lord tells Moses to send 12 “scouts” out to do some recon on the Promised Land, one from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Upon returning from their mission, ten of the twelve conclude that the land cannot be taken. The current inhabitants are fierce giants. There is no way they can be defeated. Only Caleb and Joshua say, “Let’s go for it!” Now remember, God had promised his children that He would give them this land. They had nothing to fear, for God is on their side. The ten probably thought they were being prudent. But what they were saying was, in essence, that God was not big enough to handle the task. That God could not keep His promise. And God did not take this news kindly. So He “sentences” the people to wander in the desert for forty years; one year for each day that the scouts were on recon duty.
How many times have we heard that actions have consequences? If only I had a nickel for each time! But we see it clearly today. Ten of the scouts were doubters, cowards. And they turned the people away from the promises of God. Here’s the lesson I take from this: When God opens a door and tells you to go through, not going is disobedience. It doesn’t matter if it is as a result of cowardice or “prudence.” When God says go, you go! And if you don’t, there will be a price.
Father, help us trust you more as Caleb and Joshua did, and to persevere in prayer as the Canaanite woman did. Amen.
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